Kirsten Swanson

For the past eight years, USGBC has offered scholarships to make Greenbuild accessible to people who would otherwise not be able to attend. For Greenbuild 2015, 94 individuals received a scholarship. Recipients represent a diverse group of people from around the world. Each one has a story to tell and brings their own passion to their work. Each one has a role to play in making green buildings and communities a reality for all. 

As we lead up to Greenbuild 2016 in Los Angeles, we will highlight a handful of the awesome individuals who joined us here in Washington, D.C., for Greenbuild 2015. We welcome these folks to the USGBC community. 

Barbara Wilson 

Hails from: Memphis, Tennessee

Sustainability background: I am an ordained pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and am moving forward a church-plant and start-up nonprofit, after over 20 years of pastoral ministry and administration. In addition, my work continues to broaden as I work with congregations in the Presbytery of Chicago (Presbyterian Church USA), and other organizations to build and sustain collaborative partnerships for the common good. I was driven to apply for a Greenbuild scholarship as my work to build sustainable partnerships with the congregations and communities in the Chicagoland area required increasing my knowledge and understanding of how the green movement can facilitate community development with all stakeholders in communities.

Most inspiring part of Greenbuild: I was greatly inspired about the substantive focus on relationship building and engagement with all community stakeholders in green community development. This is a focus that should be increased and further integrated into the conference.

Most fun part of Greenbuild: The most fun I had was attending the evening celebration and having the opportunity to talk with people from many walks of life that are a part of that industry.

Next steps: Becoming a member and active in USGBC Illinois, and to learn more about how my faith-based nonprofit (not Presbytery of Chicago) can build its services and programming (collaborative partnerships) to include this vital work with its constituents. 

Felicia Buck 

Hails from: Birmingham, Alabama

Sustainability background: I am a Senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pursuing a major in sustainability, and I am honored to be USGBC Alabama’s spring 2016 intern. I returned to finish my degree a little later in life after gaining valuable work experience operating three of my own successful small businesses in my twenties and starting a family. I was given the opportunity to attend Greenbuild 2015 as a scholarship recipient and have the pleasure of being Alabama’s first Ambassador for USGBC’s national ADVANCE initiative. Greenbuild went above and beyond my expectations and I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend. I am excited to be a part of USGBC’s mission by helping the movement grow throughout the beautiful state of Alabama. I look forward to being able to start a career path driven by my interests and passion.

Most inspiring part of Greenbuild: Being surrounded by thousands of people who all believe in the same thing, as well as hearing the speakers energize the attendees.

Most fun part of Greenbuild: Interactive education sessions, learning as much as I could and TalentFX.

Next steps: I am finishing up my degree this year and advocating harder than ever for green building in Alabama. Education and awareness are a necessity to get the movement to grow. I am working on a couple of projects for ADVANCE, USGBC's social equity platform. Also, I'm sparking interest in the city about our local chapter and working on setting up a student chapter at UAB. 

Jason Boal 

Hails from: Howell, Michigan

Sustainability background: I was named Teton County’s planning administrator in November 2013. I made the move from Latah County, Idaho, where I served as the Associate Planner for three years. While in Latah County, I attended the University of Idaho and obtained a master’s degree in bio-regional planning and community design, with an emphasis in public administration. My thesis, for which I won an award from the Idaho chapter of the APA, focused on the balance of planning theory and practice while analyzing and prioritizing the skills planners need to be successful. Previously, I was a planner in Heber City, Utah for three years and a planner for Epic Engineering P.C. in the private sector for another year. In 2005, I graduated from Brigham Young University-Provo with a B.S. in geographic information systems and a minor in business management.

Most inspiring part of Greenbuild: The energy of the attendees.

Most fun part of Greenbuild: Meeting new people from my region and sharing experiences.

Next steps: I have been working with the new facilities manager with Teton County to help us take the lead in the community. I am also working with the building official to ensure we have information to provide those projects that are seeking to implement LEED standards. Personally, I am looking to become a LEED AP.

Learn more about Greenbuild scholarships